Taking action to become dementia-ready

John Tonkiss
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) , McCarthy Stone

Our announcement as part of Dementia Action Week this year was one that I welcomed with open arms. We noted that all 2,600 of our employees – including everyone in our development, care, and support teams – are set to sign up to become a Dementia Friend by the end of 2021. At present, 3 million people are already part of this important initiative, led by the Alzheimer’s Society, which provides vital support to more than 850,000 people currently living with dementia. We want to play our role in this critical scheme.

Behind the scenes we have decided to take things a step further by initiating several actions that I know will help the business to better serve those living with and affected by dementia. As a senior leadership team, and as recommended in the recent APPG on Housing and Care for Older People Inquiry report, we recognised that as we emerge from this pandemic, we have a collective opportunity to continue to evolve our culture and create constructive change around dementia.

We already do a reasonable amount in this area; we take an active approach to managing the disease, including through the design of our communities, the care and support provided by our on-site Services team, which includes our CQC-registered care team who run our 100 Extra Care communities, and of course through the increased level of companionship provided by retirement living. But we know there is more that can be done.

First and foremost, we have incorporated the wider dementia work being done by Alexander Fleming, our Health and Wellbeing Advisor, into the McCarthy Stone Sustainability Strategy. This will ensure it remains prominent and continues to gain traction over the coming months and years. Our aim is clear and consistent – to improve the lives of people with dementia, through improvements to the design of our developments, the skills and awareness of our employees, and the care and services we deliver. I am confident that McCarthy Stone can lead the way in these areas.

We have also established a Dementia Working Group. For year one, we have chosen key people from various parts of our business to work closely with Alex and ensure they are ‘dementia-ready’ and prepared to meet to needs of people living with dementia head on. The group is wide spanning, covering eight areas of the business, including HR, our Group Technical and Design teams, and our front-line teams in our Retirement Living and Retirement Living PLUS (Extra Care) communities.

We will continue to make positive progress in this area to address the impact of this disease and become dementia-ready.

For more about information about McCarthy Stone, please visit their website (opens new window).

If you found this blog by John of interest, you can also read a range of other resources on housing and dementia on the Housing LIN’s dedicated webpages, including details about the recent APPG Inquiry.

Lastly, if you would like to find out more about how the Housing LIN can support you develop your housing for older people strategic vision and/or operational plans to meet the future accommodation needs of older adults, including for people living with dementia and their carers, please email us at: info@housinglin.org.uk


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